Shedding Light on LED Retrofitting

The LED lighting market is growing steadily and poised to surge to a $42.5 billion global industry by 2020 as forecasted by Allied Market Research.  This earmark is driven by the increasing technology in lighting as well as consumer desire for cost efficiency and social awareness for environmental protection.

Incandescent vs. Halogen vs. CFL vs. LED

As part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), incandescent and halogen light bulbs are virtually a thing of the past. Bans on their production and sale started in 2014 and will take full effect in 2020. Halogen bulbs are a type of incandescent, which operate at a higher temperature, thus posing a safety risk. Halogen was quickly proven to be inefficient and potentially dangerous. Their successor, Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL), while it improves energy efficiency by 70%, it also has drawbacks. Aside from patiently waiting for that CFL to warm up and gradually reach full brightness, it is not dimmable, has a tendency to be sensitive to cold temperatures and also contains mercury.  When broken, CFLs can release mercury vapor into your home or into landfill.

Light Emitting Diodes (LED) work by way of electroluminescence, a process by which electric current is passed through a semiconductor with tiny holes, requiring very little current in order to work which translates to an 85-90% reduction of energy consumption.

LED lighting applications have many advantages that play a vital role in successful daily operations in the commercial/industrial setting; which can contribute to their overall ROI:

LED lasts 25 times longer than incandescent – According to Consumer Reports,LED light bulbs provide instant light that can last anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 hours. That’s about 18 to 46 years when used three hours a day!

Versatile – LED can be virtually any size or color, making it a viable option for numerous applications for task lighting, décor, advertising, traffic signals, automotive, aviation etc.

Mitigated Safety Risk – With a very lengthy lifespan, LEDs automatically mitigate safety hazards with significant reduction in maintenance – no more climbing up ladders replacing burnt out bulbs!

Less Heat – LEDs give off 90% less heat than incandescent bulbs, which can potentially reduce cooling costs in summer months. Heat is energy, why let it go to waste?

Conducive Work Environment – Improved lighting can improve productivity and customer experience. LEDs provide buzz-free directional light in varied colors.  Color temperature, measured in kelvins (K), refers to the appearance of the light from warm tones to cool tones.  Warm lighting is easy on the eyes, and may reduce eye strain and headaches.

Tax Incentives and Utility Rebates – Take some time to research what tax incentives and rebates you may be eligible for with lighting upgrades. The Department of Energy offers a link to national savings programs by state.

Reduced Carbon Footprint – In the United States, the commercial and residential building sector accounts for 39% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year, more than any other sector. Most of these emissions are due to heating, cooling and lighting.   By working together, the commercial and industrial facilities sector can make a positive impact on energy efficiency around the globe – with a simple step of changing to LED.

Integrated Technology – by converting to LED you can easily integrate smart technology into your facility. With the ability to control lighting (dimmer/sensor) one can also monitor occupancy, temperature and security by way of various apps that usefully sync together.

Why Retrofit?

There are several reasons why just replacing standard light bulbs with LED bulbs does not have the same effect.  First, not all dimmers are universal, and the bulbs are often too big for the housing and stick out.  LED bulbs do get hot, but the heat is pulled away by a heat sink in the base of the bulb. From there, the heat dissipates into the air and the LED bulb stays cool, aiding in its long life.  However, the bulb needs a way to dissipate the heat. If an LED bulb is placed in an enclosed housing, the heat won’t have anywhere to go, sending it right back to the bulb.

The retrofitting process is easier than you expect. Once you evaluate your current lighting, determine if any lighting needs to be re-positioned; otherwise an “upgrade in place” can be made with minimal wiring alterations and minimal disruption to occupants.  This conversion is perfect for new construction or renovation of an existing facility.

A lighting upgrade is an investment. What you spend on quality LED fixtures will come back to you in the long run.  LEDs are so customizable that there are specialty bulbs and fixtures for almost every application.  Once you make the decision to invest in cleaner technology, track your utility bills and monitor the savings.

Switching entirely to LED lights over the next two decades could save the U.S. $250 billion in energy costs, reduce electricity consumption for lighting by nearly 50 percent and avoid 1,800 million metric tons of carbon emissions.

Contact us!  We can review your existing lighting and determine how LED retrofitting can save your facility some green while going green!